Fantasizing in a world of Science Fiction

Published 9:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2017

By Anne Payne

The Orange Leader

Inspired by the monster movies and horror books of the 1950’s and the 1960’s, as well as Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone,” and the novels of Jules Verne and short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, Linda Pittillo, a native of the state of Washington, became infatuated with fantasy and science fiction as a child. As an adult, she favored authors Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Linda Howard, early works of Anne Rice, and Star Trek.

Living in Orange for the past 10 years with her husband, Pittillo recently self-published two science fiction novels of her own, TOWARD THE UNKNOWN: A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE, in 2016, and SURVIVORS OF THE DARKNESS in 2017. Her books are available on order through and Barnes and Noble. She and her aircraft inspector husband live near the Cove area of Orange, after a life of traveling extensively, continually moving for 30 years due to her husband’s job.

Pittillo, 68, is an energetic and enthusiastic grandmother of five and mother of a daughter and a deceased son, keeps busy as “a writer, a people watcher, and a problem solver,” in her own words.

She especially caters to science fiction since she can make-up the rules, whereas, in other genres, that might not be possible. She stresses that her main character is usually a heroic female.

Pittillo says, “As you write, a character becomes more real,” Pittillo said. “My characters seem to tell me when I’m trying to force them to do things.”

“The hardest part of being a writer is getting published,” Pittillo added. “It is difficult to break into the publishing field since a successful book agent wants a writer to have been previously published.”

“Self-publishing means you still own all the rights to your book, and if a regular publisher wants to publish your book, then you must talk to your self-publisher to see what the regular publisher’s requirements might be,” Pittillo notes. “I decided if I wanted to see my book in print, I’d self-publish, and it is such a good feeling to see your book published!”

She jokingly adds that she also self-publishes so she will see her works in print in this life, as she is a senior citizen.

Pittillo said that even if she does not sell one book, it is worth the experience. However, she has, indeed, sold many books. She laughs that her grandchildren cannot even believe that she has written and published two books.

Giving some advice for those who wish to write books such as recipe books, children’s books, Christian books, etc., the time to do it is now, not later, Pittillo emphasizes. Speaking to a large group of senior citizens at Golden K Kiwanis at the Sunset Grove Country Club in Orange, these are words that grabbed the attention of most listeners.

Pittillo claims the only way to learn to write is to simply do it, adding that technology today allows people to spell check, grammar check, etc. Pittillo continues that she began on a manual typewriter years ago, and “white-out” became her best friend.

Of course, she now uses a computer word processor, having also written in cursive for years.

“Just let the words flow, and if it’s something you want to do, then do it,” she adds, stressing that she does not use an outline because she feels it stops the creative process.

Pittillo also keeps notes about each character on notecards, such as the color of hair, eyes, body type, clothing attire, shoes, etc., so she can continue each character’s style in the writings.

Meanwhile, when she finished her second manuscript, she surfed the Internet for self-publishers’ prices and number of page limitations, if any, along with the reviews of the self-publishers. The first book Pittillo self-published unwisely, she says, due to limitation of pages, no cover choice, no marketing of her book, etc. She advises to call several self-publishers while making notes on each, never committing until certain of choice.

Self-publishing is printing-on-demand, or print-as-you-order books.

The central Washington native says that an author never knows how long or short a novel will be, noting that she always has an idea of the beginning, the middle, and the end of her book.

According to Pittillo, editing is what takes the most time.

When a book is self-published, the author edits everything without a copy editor, and the writer usually wants to edit until perfection is reached, a long process. She strongly feels facts must be verified, especially when working with science in science fiction. Friends help her in the editing process.

The rough draft of her second self-published book took her only four days to write, while the rough draft of her first self-published novel came to three weeks.

Pittillo told the group that she does not possess any hobbies, but does admit to obsessions.

Pittillo graduated from Denver Technical College with a two-year degree in Accounting, as well as attended writer’s workshops, while taking literature and speech classes. She classifies herself as a self-taught writer, for the most part.

Pittillo professes to be both right and left-brained, revealing a fondness for mathematics and writing, attributing her qualities to being left-handed.

In her recent book, SURVIVORS OF THE DARKNESS, Pittillo comments that she uses lots of different elements.

According to Pittillo, the main character is a female pilot who is not afraid of anything. In this new novel, the earth goes black, and werewolves and vampires appear. It is the year 2086.